Our Story

Avani / Our Story
Avani is a community-based organisation that has been creating livelihood opportunities in the Kumaon region of the Indian Himalayas through the revival of traditional craft, appropriate technology, & farm-based interventions. Rashmi Bharti and Rajnish Jain together founded Avani, a non profit organisation, in 1999. When they moved to the Himalayas from Delhi more than 30 years ago, they started with a solar program initiative to address the lack of electricity in the remote villages. With this program, they helped install 3000 solar lights in 25 villages. To enable very poor families to access solar lights, an income generation program based on the traditional craft of weaving was initiated. Today a passionate and skilled local team supported by a diverse set of volunteers, interns and partners from across the world continue to nurture efficiency and energy into Avani’s various community-centric rural development programs. In a region where industrialisation is close to absent and small landholdings and scattered job opportunities in the government sector continue to be the main sources of subsistence, Avani is a hub of opportunity creating skill based livelihood opportunities that are local and sustainable. “Avani” means the Earth in Sanskrit. Avani creates opportunities for rural women and men to find viable employment through a self-sufficient and environmentally sustainable enterprise model. Every business decision related to Avani products is guided by a strong responsibility toward environmental best practices and sensitivity to the cultural context of the villages where it works. Avani began its journey in 1997 as the Kumaon chapter of the Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan and was registered as an independent entity in 1999.